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Brandon Herbert drew the plans to help get a patent registered for this process.

By TRACY HARMON  The Pueblo Chieftain

 Monday September 23rd, 2002

Publish Date Monday September 23rd, 2002

Chieftain photo by Tracy Harmon
Robert Miller of TASROP Inc. Powder Coating in Florence is all smiles because he has reduced his water consumption by 77 percent with his Stop the Waste recycling system.

 

Business owner drastically cuts water consumption

By TRACY HARMON
The Pueblo Chieftain

FLORENCE - During a time when drought has made saving water critical, Robert Miller has found a way to recycle the area's most precious commodity and cut consumption by 77 percent at his TASROP Inc. powder-coating business.

In April, Miller paid nearly $90 for his monthly water bill for consuming about 16,100 gallons of water. The bulk of water is used in the power-washing stage which takes place before the powder-coating process.

Two months after installing his Stop the Waste recycling system, Miller's August water bill was a paltry $30.65 after cutting consumption to 3,700 gallons. His shop paints cars and metals.

"We are still going downhill on water usage and I estimate it will be down around the 2,000-gallon mark each month," Miller said.

As a member of the East Florence Water Association board, Miller knew a drought and rate increase were coming this year, so he decided he had to cut down.

"I wanted to stop the water waste and reduce the amount of water going to my leach field," Miller said.

Miller started his powder-coating business in March 2001. What he did not expect was the growth which required more water and more chemicals for the pretreatment washing process.

"I was using three barrels of chemicals a month. At $500 a barrel, I could not afford $1,500 a month in chemicals," Miller explained.

Today, Miller uses about 10 gallons of chemicals a month instead of 165 gallons. With the savings he is making on both water and chemicals, Miller said his recycling system will pay for itself in about a year.

During that same one-year time frame, Miller's business alone could save enough water to serve about 30 households based on a 5,000-gallon per month rate.

With a three-filter recycling system, Miller can increase the chemicals in the pre-wash solution and do a better job of cleaning items faster, and he and his four employees don't have to monitor the chemicals so closely. Filters in the recycling system are cleaned daily and replaced twice a week, at a minimal cost, he said.

The STW recycling system recycles water at 5 to 8 gallons per minute and keeps up with demand at the business, Miller said.

"With the right setup, a system could recycle water as much as three to five times faster," Miller said, or at a rate of 15 to 25 gallons per minute.

Miller said four different patents are pending on the recycling system which he believes can be adapted to use in other businesses such as car washes and laundromats. He uses a small 200-gallon size system, but can build them up to 3,000-gallons in capacity.

"There are lots of avenues that are open. I just wish I had the money to market it," Miller said.

"With the drought we have here and the fact that we are not sending chemicals to the treatment plant, we are creating a major asset to the community as a whole. If every powder-coater in the state used this system, we would save millions of gallons of water a day," Miller said.